The Centre has failed to act even after three-and-a-half years on a parliamentary panel recommendation asking it to hand over VIP security duties to the special security group of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and relieve other paramilitary forces of their responsibility of guarding high-profile dignitaries.
“We are not sure when the parliamentary panel’s recommendation will be implemented,” a Union home ministry official said.
Asked about the reason behind the delay, he blamed the rampant VIP culture in India. “VIP status in India is related to privilege. VIP security has become a status symbol for politicians and bureaucrats regardless of threat perception,” the official said.
Another home ministry official said the BJP-led NDA government had attacked the previous government for encouraging VIP culture and promised to end it after coming to power in 2014. “But the list of VIP protectees is growing and the government is also doing what the previous
government did — giving security cover to politicians and bureaucrats close to them.”
In December 2018, a parliamentary panel had asked the Union home ministry to progressively assign security of all VIP protectees, apart from high-risk protectees, to the CISF’s special security group.
The committee had said the ministry should implement the plan at the earliest and put an end to the issue of multiple forces being assigned the task of VIP security.
“It has been over three and a half years, but all paramilitary forces continue to provide VVIP security cover. Central paramilitary forces, including the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the National Security Guard (NSG), had urged the Centre to take them off VIP security duties and reduce their workload but nothing happened,” a CRPF officer said.
In 2002, a group of ministers had also recommended that the CISF be ideally assigned the task of VIP security and suggested that the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the CRPF and other security agencies be relieved of VIP duties so they could focus on the tasks they had been created for.
VIP security has four categories — Z-plus (38 guards), Z (24 guards), Y (11 guards) and X (two guards).
On an average, VIP security costs the exchequer nearly Rs 400 crore a year.
In March last year, the home ministry had told Parliament that as many as 230 people were being provided security by the central armed police forces, including the CRPF and the CISF, under different categories such as Z-plus, Z and Y.
“Security to protectees in the central list is provided on the basis of threat assessment by central security agencies and is subject to periodic review. Based on such review, the security cover is continued, withdrawn or modified. The number, therefore, varies from time to time. However, currently around 230 protectees are being provided security in the central list,” junior home minister G. Kishan Reddy had informed Parliament.